Grísalappalísa were the first band I saw at Iceland Airwaves 2013. I'd heard and fallen in love with their first record, the seven track 'Ali', and I knew that this was a rare sighting of some former members of the legendary Jakobínarína (seriously, look them up if you don't know them already). The live show, even at the first slot of the night in the large space of the Art Museum was incredible. I very clearly remember watching it and think that this may be the very best show I see all festival, and I think it probably was, and others agree. They also played a brilliant KEX session.
Their career highlight (I assume) followed in December when they achieved a very respectable fourth place in the iceblah record of the year public vote.
So it was pretty exciting when a new single (ABC, below) and album appeared last month (on my birthday, thank you!) and I decided an interview with the band was long overdue. Step forward guitarist (of Grísalappalísa and beyond), Rúnar...
Like all good Icelandic bands, Grísalappalísa contains members from many other bands. Can you quickly tell us who is in the band, and where else we may have spotted you all before please?
Rúnar Örn Marinósson (moi) and Bergur Thomas Anderson, guitarsnapperr and bassknuckle, are also current members of dreamy-haze-gaze pop group Oyama and former members of local treats Sudden Weather Change and Me, the Slumbering Napoleon. Gunnar Ragnarsson and Sigurður Möller Mótorinn Sívertsen, singer/partyboy and drumthumper are former members of Jakobínarína, teenage punkjunk band of FIFA 09 fame. Albert Finnbogason, guitarslinger and musical maestro is also a member of Youtube famous Sóley's live band, eerie droneboner band Heavy Experience, along with our sexy sax-man Tumi Árnason, and former member of the terrifyingly great grindmachine Swords of Chaos. Sax-man Tumi is also a member of ice-dub wonder Ojba Rasta and probably something else that I'm forgetting. Baldur Baldursson, our poet and original prankster, is also the brains behind the mysterious Veirumenn.
It seemed to me that, about a year ago, Grísalappalísa appeared from nowhere. How long had you been working together before those first releases?
I joined Grísalappalísa roughly a year ago. Before that the guys had been making Ali for about a year, not unlike the process of making our new album. We like to do things fast but meticulously.
Your live shows are pretty emotional and intense (and hugely enjoyable), the first show at Airwaves 2014 was very possibly my highlight of the whole festival. Is it fun? and do you know what is going to happen next or is it all spontaneous?
Thank you for the kind words about our show! Yes, it's tons of fun, the most fun I can have. Do you mean the performance itself? It's mostly spontaneous, the only thing that's not is the order of the songs we play and even that often changes during a show. No show is quite the same for us. We have songs that are written in a way that you can morph it into something new every time, it's unique at every show. Some bits and antics we repeat but it's never exactly the same.
Your new album comes quickly after your debut last year. How was the writing and recording process, are you drowning in ideas?
A lot of the new lyrics are leftovers from Ali's banquet but we wrote all the music together. We'd bring individual pieces, riffs, ideas and such to rehearsals and there we put it together like a puzzle. When we started recording we only had like 9 songs ready but we also had extra lyrics so some of the songs are just written on the spot. Now I feel a little dried up but that kind of a period usually doesn't last long. We'll be cooking up something fresh before you know it.
Is the album a logical next step? ( I hope I have that translation right! )
Your translational skills do not fail you. It certainly is a logical step. It's big, refined, rich and catchy. Grown up cheese.
Are you looking forward to playing these new songs live? Are there any plans to play shows outside of Iceland?
We've already played a lot of the songs live but it's always fun. It's fun to see the people who come to our shows shout the new lyrics out, like they want to be with us, not just looking at us. We don't have any global plans as of now but we're touring Iceland in a few weeks, bringing pop for the people!
I'm sure the people are looking forward to it very much. I thoroughly recommend that you all check out Grísalappalísa as soon as possible. You can get ALL OF THEIR MUSIC over here.